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Brits in the dark on sick pay

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Brits are in the dark about sick pay, with more than 2.5 million workers unaware they would see a dip in salary if they were unwell and unable to work, finds research from Direct Line Life Insurance.

Many Brits mistakenly assume their employer would continue to pay their full salary for over three months if they were off sick. Almost half (43%) of firms reduce an employee’s wages to statutory sick pay after two weeks. One in six firms (16%) immediately switch to paying statutory sick pay once an employee has been off work for four days.

Employees become entitled to statutory sick pay if they have been off work more than four days in a row and can receive it for up to 28 weeks. However, this is only paid at a rate of £89.35 a week, less than a fifth of the average UK weekly wage of £510. However, just 4% of Brits know how much they would receive in statutory sick pay, and 8% have never heard of it.

Those on longer-term sick leave may also lose entitlement to bonuses. A fifth of firms that pay bonuses withhold them altogether if an employee has been off work on long-term sick leave, while a third pay them on a pro-rata basis.

Even if a firm offers sick pay, employees may have had to work there for up to two years before receiving a full entitlement.

Trevor Bush, head of Direct Line Life Insurance, said: “This research highlights a worrying disconnect between peoples’ expectations and what they would actually be entitled to if they were to unexpectedly fall ill. Statutory sick pay is significantly lower than the national average salary and people are only eligible for 28 weeks, so those with long-term conditions could find themselves struggling financially if they are unable to work for a long period of time.”

See’s critical illness guide for more information

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